Local cuisine entices tourists | Daily News

Local cuisine entices tourists

Food festival in Ampara attracts large crowds:

With a view to promoting the tourism industry through delicious local food that would appeal to tourists, the Grand Food Festival which was a two-day traditional village food fair was held recently at the Ampara Green Park attracting large crowds from various parts of the Ampara District.

The programme was organised by Skills for Inclusive Growth (S4IG), an initiative of the Australian Government under its strategy to develop skills in the Eastern Province tourism sector.

The main feature of the event was the cooking competition where a large number of chefs from reputed hotels and restaurants participated with enthusiasm and keen interest. Restaurants promoted their traditional food, local food and Western food. Stalls of handloom where all kinds of pure cotton and rayon handloom products were displayed along with handicrafts and batiks also attracted tourists. Beauty therapy stalls, the display of various pottery items turned out by potters from remote areas and an information centre on surfing were the main attractions.

In the meantime, many visitors sought health advice from Ayurveda and Unani medical stalls set up at the festival grounds. Medical personnel were headed by Nintavur Ayurvedic Research Hospital’s Non-Communicable Disease Director Dr. K.L.M. Nagfer under the guidance of the Commissioner of Ayurveda K.D.G. Chathura Kumarathunge. Health education, the advantages of plants used to treat non-communicable diseases, benefits of Ayurvedic treatment and different kinds of regimental therapies were given prominence.

Career guidance units and information centres of private universities conducted career guidance programmes for which many youths from various parts of the district attended.

Member of Parliament Anoma Gamage was the chief guest while District Secretary D.M.L. Bandaranayake attended the event as the guest of honour. Other guests, Additional Government Agent V. Jegatheeswaran, Ampara Urban Council Chairman Chaminda Sugath and Eastern Province Tourism Bureau General Manager A.S.M. Fayis were welcomed by traditional Kandyan and Tamil dancers.

Addressing the gathering, District Secretary D.M.L. Bandaranayake thanked the Team Leader David C. Ablett and his team for taking all constructive measures to promote tourism in the Ampara District and commended the moves in extending their helping hand to the needy.

“At a time when the district has found relief from natural disasters such as the tsunami, floods and droughts, moves of this nature would definitely bring a radical change in the area. Such festivals should be continued,” he said.

District Manager for the S4IG Samsudeen delivered the welcome speech and Team Leader David C. Ablett explained their programmes in detail. Several others also addressed the gathering.

Deputy Team Leader Kamlanathan Jayathas, Manager - Marketing and Communication Judy Deepan, Senior Manager - Strategy and Planning Sharanya Ravikumar and District Manager - Polannaruwa Padmasiri Bandara were among the invitees.

It is necessary to note that Arugam Bay in the Ampara District is internationally known for surfing where tourists from different parts of the world visit during May, June and July.

There are many other attractive sites in the district such as the famous Kumana Sanctuary where a vibrant variety of endemic and migrant birds can be seen.

The places of cultural heritage in the area are Okanda Hindu Temple, Kudumbigala Forest Heritage, Tharulengala Aranya Senasanaya Buddhist Forest Hermitage, Magul Maha Viharaya and Muhudu Maha Viharaya. Thousands of tourists visit these places to make their holidays memorable. The main purpose of organising this food festival is to prepare service providers to highlight their best services in order to attract more visitors, thereby increasing the number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka in the future.

The occasion also included a press conference chaired by S4IG Team Leader Ablett. He detailed the objective of the S4IG and briefed the audience about the projects that have been implemented in the Ampara District to promote tourism and how far they have achieved their missions. He also answered various questions raised by journalists.

Deputy Team Leader Jayathas also addressed the media. District Manager - Ampara U.L. Samsudeen, Manager - Marketing and Communication Judy Deepan, Senior Manager - Strategy and Planning Sharanya Ravikumar were also present at this press conference.

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